We say we are “in” traffic, dramatising ourselves as a lone vehicle of noble and rational intent, with a sea of malevolent, deadweight antagonists stretching endlessly fore and aft. It was in a bid to highlight the flaws in this position that a German transport campaign erected roadside boards reading: “You are not stuck in traffic – you are traffic.”
An otherwise quite ordinary Guardian Comment is Free column on the latest Chinese super-traffic-jam points out something I’ve blogged before: the exceptionalism of insulated, protected, self-absorbed car drivers.
We’re all traffic. Traffic is never “them”, it’s “us”, and that bears repeating in the (faint) hope it might eventually stick.